By now, most adults know the basics of good oral health: regular oral hygiene and visits to your dentist or periodontist. But how many of us follow the second part? Regular visits to your dentist or periodontist means up-to-date check-ups and cleanings to prevent worsening problems, such as gum disease.


If it’s been a while since your last professional cleaning, you likely have a lot of plaque and tartar built up along the gum line. Without proper treatment, you’re at risk of gum disease and cavities. Fortunately, your periodontist can recommend scaling and root planing to eliminate plaque and tartar, and prevent gum disease from worsening.


Have you spotted the earliest signs of gum disease? Learn all about scaling and root planing in Mississauga. Find out how our periodontists perform these procedures to treat the earliest signs of gum disease.


What is gum disease and what causes it?


When the gums are healthy, the tissues fit tightly around the teeth. But over years of less thorough brushing, no flossing, and no regular dental cleanings, plaque-causing bacteria can build up along the gum line. This can cause inflammation, resulting in gum disease.


Also known as periodontal disease, this condition causes pockets to form in the gum tissue around the teeth. While it’s normal to have small gaps between the gums and teeth, periodontal pockets are much larger and more damaging. Plaque-causing bacteria can continue to grow in these pockets they created, making the periodontal pockets bigger. Over time, gum disease can damage the teeth and jawbone, leading to tooth loss.


What is scaling and root planing?


When gum disease is detected early enough, your periodontist may be able to treat it through nonsurgical techniques. Scaling and root planing is a two-step procedure that your periodontist performs to eliminate plaque and clean the teeth affected by gum disease, down to the deposits in the root surfaces of the teeth.


  • Scaling: During dental scaling, your periodontist will remove plaque build-up and tartar deposits from the surfaces of the teeth and along the gum line using both manual and ultrasonic instruments
  • Root planing: Scaling is typically followed by root planing, wherein your periodontist will remove plaque from root surfaces and smooth out rough parts. This will prevent bacteria from adhering again to the roots and reduce inflammation in the gum tissue.


Do I need scaling and root planing? Signs to look out for


Before we get into the warning signs of gum disease and the consequences of leaving them untreated, it’s important to remember that most of these are avoidable with proper oral hygiene. While everyone suffers from a bit of plaque build-up as a result of everyday meals, poor oral hygiene habits over a prolonged period is what causes gum disease to develop.


Scaling and root planing are recommended for early-stage gum disease. During your first visit, your periodontist will assess the degree of gum disease. If they determine that it’s in the early stages, scaling and root planing can effectively remove plaque and tartar build-up. 


Here are the signs they look out for:


  • Your gum tissues don’t fit tightly around the teeth, causing plaque to build-up between the gums and teeth
  • The gap between the gums and teeth or pockets are bigger than 4mm
  • You frequently have bad breath due to the plaque build-up in the pockets
  • Some of your teeth may feel loose and about to fall out.


How is scaling and root planing performed?


Scaling and root planing is a two-step nonsurgical procedure performed by your periodontist to clean the plaque build-up around the gum line, as well as the root surfaces of the teeth. At the end of the procedure, the plaque and tartar deposits will be removed. With continued care, you can also prevent gum disease from recurring and worsening.


Here are the steps of scaling and root planing:


  1. Your periodontist may administer a local anesthetic to minimize potential discomfort.

  3. Then, your periodontist will begin the procedure. The first step is scaling. They will remove bacteria from the tooth surfaces below the gum line. Your periodontist may use manual handheld instruments or an ultrasonic instrument to scrape plaque from the teeth.

  5. After scaling is complete, your periodontist will proceed with root planing. In this second part of the procedure, your periodontist will reach deeper into the gum tissues to access the surfaces of the teeth’s roots. They will scrape plaque and tartar deposits, then smooth out the surfaces of the roots. This will ensure that the gums can properly attach to the entire structure of the teeth without plaque-causing bacteria.

  7. Following your scaling and root planing procedure, your periodontist may prescribe pain medication and an antibiotic or specially formulated mouthwash to prevent infection. These will help you manage pain or discomfort over the next few days, as well as symptoms such as tooth sensitivity that can last for a week. 


What happens after scaling and root planing?


Your periodontist will schedule a follow-up check-up after your procedure. Once they see that the inflamed gum tissue is now pink and firm, the bleeding has stopped, and the periodontal pockets are now smaller, you’ll be good to go and won’t need further treatment. Just remember to schedule regular check-ups and cleanings to prevent gum disease from recurring.


But depending on the size of the treatment area or the number of teeth affected, your periodontist may schedule multiple scaling and root planing sessions. For moderate gum disease, your periodontist may work in quadrants or halves.


Lastly, if your periodontist finds that the pockets have grown deeper, this means gum disease persists. They will likely recommend additional, more advanced treatment, such as pocket reduction surgery. In this procedure, your periodontist will clean out the pockets and close them. The upside is, your previous scaling and root planing treatment can reduce the extent of the periodontal surgery.

Book Your Scaling and Root Planing Treatment at Periodontal Associates

Now that you know what scaling and root planing entails, it’s time to get a headstart on your gum disease treatment. Our team of periodontists at Periodontal Associates in Mississauga are here to help you stop gum disease in its tracks, and obtain long-lasting results. With advanced equipment and a personalized treatment plan, you can count on our periodontists to ensure a smooth, comfortable, and hassle-free scaling and root planing procedure in Mississauga.


Do you need scaling and root planing in Mississauga? Visit Periodontal Associates today for a consultation with one of our periodontists.

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